If the people who walk their dogs off the leash in my neighborhood have children at home, I feel sorry for the children. How you train your dog is how you train your kid. So the way they must train their kids is, “Go ahead and play in traffic, little ones, but do so carefully, responsibly and with caring for others.”
How about don’t play in traffic? How about leash your damn dog?
It’s been two years since I last wrote about this. I think I’m on a two-year cycle. I don’t think I’m ever rude right off the bat. I just say, “Please leash your dog.” Is that rude? Is that “aggro”?
Let me tell you something. When I ask someone to leash a dog, there is one response I deeply resent: “Oh, is your dog aggressive?”
I don’t have to answer that. It makes me want to say, “Is your mother aggressive?” It’s not the point.
As I reported here last time, Dallas City Code, Volume I, Chapter 7, Animals, Article III, Care and Treatment, Section 7-3.1, Loose Animals, paragraph A states: “An owner commits an offense if the owner fails to restrain the animal at all times in a fenced yard, in an enclosed pen or structure, or by a tether or leash.”
And, yes, by the way, next time it comes up, if anybody wants to know, both of my dogs have untreated rabies. It’s how I roll. I love my dogs dearly, but they do get crazy. I try to keep a firm grip on those leashes, but I have noticed lately that both leashes are kind of frayed and unraveled, like they’re about to pop at any moment. Of course, if that ever does happen, I will have to turn around and run home so they won’t hurt me.
A person with untethered dogs coming down the sidewalk at me would be pretty much on his or her own from that moment forward. They say it’s important, if you are bitten by a rabid dog, to catch it and cut off its head. I’m not sure why. Maybe as human beings we just think that's what is appropriate.
Sometimes people who do have their dogs on leashes are irritating anyway because of the way they and their dogs walk. You know what I mean. They walk self-righteously. You’ve seen it. The humans have their noses in the air, and the dogs do, too.
Listen, I know my dogs are idiots. That’s why I cross the street with them when I see someone with dogs coming the other way. I go the extra mile. I am fully aware how wrong my dogs are.
The little one, Penny, can spot a door-to-door delivery van five blocks from home even when it is totally unmarked, a white incognito van. She goes full-tilt rabies, like she wants to pull the driver from the van and kill her right then and there.
The bigger one, Dorothy, is so spooky, if a leaf falls on her she jumps straight up in the air on a spring. She’s always looking for trouble. Every yard-dog we pass she tries to goad into jumping the fence and coming out for a dog fight. I should take bets.
I cross the street if I can. I live in an urban area, and sometimes I can’t easily cross. I might be walking on a busy thoroughfare, or it’s rush hour, or it’s hot, whatever. Maybe I don’t feel like crossing. But at least then I drag my dogs up onto a yard or part-way down a driveway to let another dog-walker pass.
The people I can’t stand are the ones who come right down the sidewalk at you. The man and woman won’t budge an inch. They’ve got two gigantic Peloponnesian bear hounds on extender leashes; all four of them have their noses in the air; and they’re all prancing along in lockstep with each other. I expect all four to stop every half-block and do a Sieg heil!
If I cross the street when I can, if I at least make the gesture, is it asking too much for other dog-walkers to do the same? Or something equivalent? Really? Because it really makes Penny and Dorothy resentful when they have to get out of the way and the other dogs do not. Rabidly so.
I know, oh, yes, I am well-aware of the comeback, because I have heard it on numerous times on the street. “Sir, why do you not train your dogs properly?”
I do not say, “Why do you not train your mother properly, you pinhead?” What I have said on a couple of occasions is, “My dogs are actually dogs. If I wanted one like yours, I’d get a wind-up.”
But that doesn’t do any good. People like that don’t get it. They want their dogs to be wind-ups, because they are wind-ups. They don’t even let their dogs sniff. They only go for walks so the world can see how wound up they are. They’d probably come out fine if you put all four of them in the washing machine.
Dogs are a balancing act. You shouldn’t want to turn dogs into wind-ups. Dogs need to be dogs. But since they are dogs, they need to be on leashes. Repressed or not, wind-up or au naturel, dogs are always still dogs. The ultimate problem is never the dog. It’s the human being who doesn’t understand that his dog is a dog.
If an unleashed dog approaches me and the owner says, “Don’t worry, he wouldn’t hurt a flea,” then I know I am dealing with an owner who is in deep dog denial. Yes, the dog would hurt a flea. The dog would eat a cat. All dogs would eat a cat if they could get away with it. A cat is a candy bar.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
I’m thinking of printing out an interesting article I found online at National Geographic. I might carry copies of it with me so I can hand them out to people and say, “Read this. Actually, your dog would eat you.”
The technical term for it is “indoor scavenging.” If you happen to pass on to your everlasting reward while at home alone with your dog and nobody shows up for a while to check, then you are what gets scavenged. It happens pretty quickly. According to the piece, 24 hours is more than enough time for you to become kibbles.
Breed doesn’t seem to have much to do with it, although the larger breeds make faster work of it. German shepherds, according to the author, have a penchant for decapitation. Not sure why. Turnabout is fair play? The puzzling thing, the article says, is that sometimes there’s a bowl of real kibbles sitting nearby, untouched. It does make you wonder to what extent you are being sized up. Next time your dog licks your face, think about it.
Balance. In all things, balance. Love your dog. Trust your dog. But keep your damn dog on a leash. If I pull my dogs out of the way, pull your damn dogs the other way. You wouldn’t ever want things to get too far out of balance with a dog. You know the old saying, It’s a dog-eat-dog world? Not necessarily.